Why Is It BLURRY?!?!
VR is AMAZING!! At least, it can be!
It is definitely much LESS impressive, if you’re stumbling around like Mr. Magoo (and if you know who THAT is, you get bonus points!)
So what can you do if your vision is blurry when you put the headset on? Turns out, there are several things. Let’s start at the beginning.
Oculus Quest headsets come with a thin plastic film over the lenses to help protect them during storage. Apparently, some folks don’t realize they are on there, so they don’t know to peel them off.
This is a picture of the Oculus Quest 1 lense, with the plastic film still on it. The Oculus Quest 2 plastic film can be even harder to see, so it’s not surprising that some folks don’t realize they need to take it off! Unless you remember taking the plastic film off of the lenses, just give a quick look to make sure they aren’t still on there.
Next, have you adjusted your IPD? IPD stands for Inter Pupillary Distance. It’s a fancy way of saying “the distance between the center of one pupil and the other”. With the Oculus Quest 1, you adjust your IPD with a little slider found under the right side of the headset. The Oculus Quest 1 has more flexibility in this adjustment, so people can more easily fine tune it because the slider does not “click” into position. With the Oculus Quest 2, you have to reach in and gently slide one lense toward the middle, or toward the outer edge. There are only 3 positions for the Oculus Quest 2, but folks have found that if you are careful, you can adjust the slider between the settings for better precision. It’s a good idea to measure your IPD, or if a child will be using the headset, be sure to measure their IPD for them. Be aware that although IPD changes very little over the course of our lifetime, younger children might not be able to get the IPD small enough to work well for them. The Oculus Quest 1 has an IPD range from 56mm to 70mm, whereas the Oculus Quest 2 only has an IPD setting range from 58mm to 68mm. The average IPD for 5 year olds is just 51mm, but for most kids, their IPD will stabilize to the adult range by the time they are 13 (girls) or 15 (boys). It’s likely that the Oculus Quest headset will work for a child’s IPD setting by the time they are close to that age, just try to make sure they are able to see clearly before allowing them to spend much time in the VR headset. It would be best for a parent to measure the IPD of any child prior to use. Here’s a report from the NiH if you would like to read more about how IPD changes by age.
Do you wear prescription lenses? If so, you obviously want to make sure your prescription lenses are nice and clean before you put your headset on. You should be using the Headset Glasses Spacer that comes with your headset. To install it, you carefully remove the facial interface, click the glasses spacer into place and then put the facial interface back on top of it. Watch the edges carefully as you click it back into place. You may also want to pick up a set of Oculus Lense Protectors, to make sure your glasses do not scratch the lenses.
Ironically, even if you do NOT wear prescription lenses, you may want to install the Headset Glasses Spacer! Many people have said that installing this thin spacer helps a lot with their clarity (it did for me). Also, it probably goes without saying that if you wear prescription lenses, be sure you are actually WEARING THEM with your headset, especially if you are near-sighted. Some folks think that if they are near-sighted, they won’t need to wear their prescription lenses with the headset, because the lenses are so close to their eyes. However, this is not the case. I can’t attest to all VR Headsets, but the Oculus Quest “tricks” your eyes into thinking they are looking at something that is actually far away and your eyes have to focus accordingly. If you are far-sighted, you might actually be able to see better in your VR headset without your prescription lenses. Here’s an article with more details on all of that. A recommended read if you wear prescription lenses! You may also want to consider getting special prescription lenses that fit over the headset lenses to eliminate the need to wear your glasses. There are some good sources for this, such as VR Optician. By the way, they also make non-prescription protective lenses to fit over your headset lenses. I think this is a great idea, though I haven’t tried it yet!
Another thing to consider is that it’s always going to be the most clear right in the center of your lenses. It can take a little training to get used to moving your head to look around, instead of just turning your eyeballs, but this is especially noticeable when “Fixed Foveated Rendering” (FFR) comes into play. It basically means that the edges of your lenses are going to be much blurrier than the center. If that’s something you’re curious about, read more about that here: Fixed Foveated Rendering
If the headset isn’t properly adjusted on your face, your vision is going to be blurry. I recommend that you loosen the headstrap (while holding the headset with one hand of course) so you can move the headset around freely. With the headset turned on, so you can see a screen in front of you, carefully move the headset higher, lower, press it tighter against your face, move it slightly farther away until you find the “sweet spot” for you. Keep in mind that the headset TILTS on the strap arms, so you can actually rotate it slightly up and down. It’s startling how much difference it makes to find the right spot to wear your headset! Once you have that figured out, adjust your straps to hold it in place. It’s best to tighten the back first, then finally snug the top strap.
Finally, don’t forget that VR lenses become dirty! No matter how careful you are, the lenses are going to get fingerprints, dust, hair, small debris and… sweat on them. It’s important to have a safe way to clean your lenses when they need it. A Lense Cleaning Pen is essential. It comes with a soft brush for dusting away any loose debris, and a soft spongy end to polish up the lense.
Your lenses will also fog up from time to time. You can take a break to let the lenses adjust to the temperature change, clean the lenses and/or you can try some of this anti-fog solution.
If you’ve tried all of that and your lenses are still blurry, you might consider a trip to an optician, just to make sure your vision is ok, especially if you haven’t seen one in a while. Vision problems in VR can be an early sign of needing corrective lenses.
Last resort, contact Oculus! While I think it’s rare, there may actually be something wrong with your lenses.
If I’ve missed anything, or if anything here works for you, be sure to let me know in the comments! Hopefully this article will help a few folks to more fully enjoy their VR experience. And remember Always Use Your Grip Straps!